Geoffrey, can you come in here for a moment?
- Sure thing, sir, just let me finish licking my ass.
By all means.
- You rang?
Geoffrey, what do you make of this Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes business?
- Closeted gay midget Scientologist divorces your #1 crush from the late 90s.
*sigh* I’m pretty sure I’ve read that somewhere else before. Not to mention that it’s offensive in at least three different ways.
- Admit it, though. You’d click on it.
I would. I’d click on it elsewhere but I don’t think I’d be comfortable running a headline like that here. It’s like your idea for “book mashups that no one should write ever.” It was shocking but definitely went too far.
- I’m telling you, “Fifty Shades of the Color Purple” would go places.
Dude! Not cool! I think that might be the most offensive joke anyone has made in history.
- Then why are you smiling?
… You’re an asshole, you know that?
- You are what you eat.
Now how about this Higgs Boson discovery?
- Let’s steer clear of the word “discovery.” Apparently the particle physicists at CERN are still reluctant to call it that, and actual physicists are doing a bit of hand-wringing over the whole “proof” thing.
Why is it that valuing accuracy always seems to result in lackluster headlines?
- Because there can be only one The Onion.
Noted. Anyway, we got some pretty awesome results when we wrote an Onion-like article. The death by bacon hoax was one of our biggest hits yet. That one’s still making the rounds on a lot of forums!
- But see, the problem is that since we aren’t The Onion, most people seemed to actually believe it, and missed the point about it being a satire on “viral internet hits” all together. In effect, it became the very thing it satirized.
I like to think that some people got the joke.
- Oh, no doubt. I’m sure plenty did. But that’s not why it went viral. It went viral because it fooled people. Nearly all the referral links are from people who bought into it. As a form of commentary on the viral/social media thing, I think these satire pieces are great and possibly serve some purpose in the long-run. I mean, the conversation we had last week that led to your 49 Awe-Inspiring Feats post practically predicted Slate’s How to Make a Viral Hit post that ran 10 hours later.
I don’t think our conversation actually had anything to do with that. I think it was just a coincidence that we both reached the same obvious conclusion. And besides, neither the Slate article nor the subsequent Gawker article addressed the point I was making about how it has more to do with having the massive distribution network these megasites do than the issues the formatting of the content. I really don’t think my articles had anything to do with them.
- Maybe not. But for those following along and reading between the lines, you already know that these conversations of ours are appreciated, even if they’ll never be as big as 1001 Obvious References to Linkbait You’ve Seen Rehashed 1001 Times Before.
Are you daring me to test another theory?
- God no. Just keep writing about gender issues. There are bound to be more productive conversations there.